Hammer Drill vs Rotary Hammer

Hammer Drill vs Rotary Hammer

Conventional drills are not suitable for handling all the jobs at your hand. For instance, many holes need to be drilled in a concrete foundation when installing a deck ledger. And without a specialized tool, you can’t accomplish this project efficiently.

A hammer drill or a rotary drill is a specialized tool that will help you accomplish many drilling projects.

Although sometimes people use the names interchangeably, they have many dissimilarities.

In this article, we will go through the rotary hammer vs. hammer drill discussion.

What is a Hammer Drill?

best corded hammer drill for concreteMost woodworkers have this powerful tool in their toolbox because of its effectiveness in the drilling project. The unique feature of the tool is it comes with a hammer function.

The drill gets repeated smacks from the hammer because of its internal mechanism, and thus, it can drill into a variety of materials. Depending on the operating power source there are two types of rotary hammer drive; one is a corded hammer drill and another is a cordless hammer drill.

It can produce rapid bursts, and this is the reason many people call it Mini Jackhammer. However, plenty of hammer drills can’t fully capture the energy they generate and often generate loud noises and vibrations.

What is a Rotary Drill?

Hammer Drill vs Rotary Hammer- Picking the Best Suited Drill 1The rotary tool is popular among many woodworkers due to its versatility. A cordless power screwdriver or a powered drill can be an excellent option for a light-duty task, but can these power tools withstand heavy-duty tasks? The answer is NO.

In this case, a rotary drill is the right option.

The changeable drilling bit delivers the incredible benefit of a rotary tool. With the changeable drilling bit, you can perform a wide range of drilling tasks quite comfortably.

Comparison Chart – Rotary Drill vs. Hammer Drill

rotary hammer vs hammer drill

Features Hammer Drill Rotary Drill
Power Capacity Produces high blows per minute (BPM) Compared to a hammer drill, it produces less BPM.
Construction and Comfort Adjustable ergonomic handle for comfortable use. Adjustable large rear handles ensure great functionality and durability.
Functionality Limited functionality. Handles a wide range of tasks with multiple operating speed and adjustable chisels.
Applications Can create ½” hole in light masonry materials. Suitable for both light and complicated tasks.

Hammer Drill vs. Rotary Drill: In-depth Discussion

This section will look into the in-depth discussion on the differences between the hammer and rotary drills. Both of them are ideal for different purposes, and characteristically they are unique in their working process.

Power Capacity

Compared to a rotary drill, a hammer drill delivers higher blows per minute (BPM). Using small-sized metal anvils at the back of the chuck, it offers an exceptional quantity of BMP. It is constructed in such a way so that it can deal with violent shock at the materials.

While a rotary drill, BPM is not as high as a hammer drill. Rotary drills recommended BPM level is 4,000. The BPM power amount enables an inner piston to drive the chuck forward, creating a robust force for indulgent and solid materials.

Construction and Comfort

A normal drill is a bit smaller than a hammer drill. It is because a hammer drill includes an anvil in it. Also, a hammer drill gets a larger size since it consists of a chuck too. The adjustable ergonomic handle allows you to grip the hammer comfortably and reduces vibration. In fact, the uniquely designed handle ensures comfortability while working with it.

Compared to a hammer drill, a rotary drill is larger. To ensure better stability, it includes an adjustable large rear handle. Ensuring durability and functionality is the prime responsibility of the hammer drill handle while tackling a complicated task.


A hammer drill’s functionality is limited to a rotary drill. Overall, the hammer drill’s incredible effectiveness for the light masonry project is highly remarkable, so high power is unnecessary. It performs efficiently with the best outcome of each feature and handles the task.

On the other hand, many rotary drills are available with multiple operating speeds and the chisel’s adjustment for the chuck. This way, the chuck can operate only in hammer mode. This feature makes it an ideal option for handling carpentry tasks where using a power tool is unnecessary. Moreover, handling a heavy-duty task is a matter of time because of the chisel adjustment feature.


A DIY or beginner can fulfill the project requirement using a hammer drill. It consists of a 5 – 8 A motor, and its power is quite enough for creating a ½-inch hole on materials such as blocks, mortars, and other light materials. However, if the material is more rigid similar to concrete, it will take much time to make a hole.

In contrast, you can perform both light and heavy-duty tasks with a rotary drill. But the best outcome is ensured when it handles heavy-duty tasks. It is efficient enough to create large holes in solid and robust materials such as steel, wood, plastic, and to name a few.

Hammer Drill vs Rotary Hammer Drill: Which One to Pick

The drill bit of the hammer drill rotates efficiently with the help of its included clutch. The drill bit operates quickly and passes a little distance.

For this reason, pick a hammer drill if you need to handle the light masonry task.

On the flip side, a rotary tool is an upgraded version of a hammer drill. It can handle a similar task that a hammer drill can, and it accomplishes even more. A rotary drill is eligible to undertake both light and complicated tasks.

Can a hammer drill be used as a regular drill?

Putting the hammer drill into drill mode only, using a hammer drill regularly is convenient. It means a hammer drill comes with a 2-in-1 feature.

Impact driver or Hammer drill – Which one should I use?

When the task is to create holes in softer materials, choose a hammer drill. An impact driver is an ideal option for making holes in solid materials like concrete, woods, and masonry.

Picking the right tools depends a lot on the project requirements. While buying, ensure you have considered all the options to find the ideal tool for your project. Hopefully, this guideline on rotary hammer vs. hammer drill will also help you make a precise decision.